the trench war (3rd battle)
3:43:50 2018-04-11 105

Continuing on with the series of occurrences that came with the revelation of the religion of Islam, that had an immense impact on the turnout of the holy religion, in this article we will be discussing the battle of the Trench, also known as “Khandaq”. During the fifth year after hijrah, and after the victory of the Muslims in Badr and Uhud, Abu Sufyan and his followers continued to propagate against the Prophet and Islam within Makkah and outside of Makkah.  Many pagan tribes joined Aby Sufiyan and they all shared one goal: killing Prophet Muhammed PBUH and diminishing the religion of Islam. Therefore Abu Sufiyan gathered his army and the tribes from inside and outside of Makkah, and got ready to attack the Prophet PBUH once again, which resulted in the Battle of Khandaq.

When the Prophet heard what a powerful army was advancing against him, he held a council of war with his companions, who were a total of seven hundred at the time. During this meeting Salman Al Farsi suggested to dig a trench around the campsite of the Muslims so that they can only be attacked in one direction. At this time, Angel Gabriel descended and informed the Prophet that the plan of Salman was effect and the Prophet declared that it must be executed.  The Muslims then immediately chose a campsite and began working on the trench that was to be used to protect them from the enemies. The ground was then marked out from Uhud to Rayah, and divided into sections of twenty or thirty feet, each section being assigned to a particular party for excavation. The Muslims began the work with spades and pickaxes, with the Prophet himself laboring in a section with the Muhajireen. This trench was completed in six days, which was just enough time before Abu Sufiyan’s army invaded Medina.

One of the issues that were present during this war, which has also been present in the previous battles as well, is that they were many hypocrites among the Muslims who circulated frightening rumors, which added to the fear of the Muslims. The Holy Qur'an tells us of the psychological crisis with which the Muslims lived during that period:

"Behold! They came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and imagined various (vain) thoughts about God! In that situation the believers were tried: They were shaken with a mighty Shock. And behold! The hypocrites and those in whose hearts there is disease (even) say: God and His Apostle promised us nothing but delusion! Behold! A party among them said: O people of Yathrib (Medina), you cannot stand (the attack), therefore turn back! And a band of them ask for leave of the Prophet, saying: Truly our houses are bare and exposed though they were not exposed; they intended nothing but to flee."

One of the most common things the battles that occurred throughout the life of the holy Prophet PBUH was that the main leader and loyal defender of the religion of Islam after the Prophet PBUH, was Imam Ali AS. If one takes even the simplest look into the battles that occurred, one would instantly notice that out of the many men that were present, Imam Ali was the most selfless and loyal, as his unconditional love towards Prophet Muhammed PBUH and Islam shone through his courageous actions.

In the battle of Khandaq, when the Muslim soldiers saw the enemy’s surround the trench they had dug, they became extremely anxious as they were about three thousand, while Abu Sufyan’s army was nearly twenty thousand. When the enemies saw that they couldn’t get through to the Muslim’s side, Amr ibn Abduwud, accompanied by Dhirar Ibn Al-Khattab, Akramah Ibn Abu Jahl, and others, sought and found a narrow place in the trench, and they were able to use their horses to leap onto the other side. This is where many of those on Prophet Muhammed’s army began to fear losing their lives, despite being promised victory by the holy Prophet himself. However a number of the believing Muslims grew stronger as the events went by because they had pure belief in Islam’s message and trusted the Prophet PBUH, and were willing to sacrifice their lives for this cause. They have been mentioned in the holy Quran as it states, “This is what God and His Apostle had promised us. And God and His Apostle told us what is true. And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience. "Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with God: Of them some have completed their vow (to the extreme), and some (still) wait; but they have never changed (their determination) in the least."

When Amr Ibn Abduwud, a well-known skilled fighter, crossed the trench, he stood boastfully and arrogantly before the Muslims and challenged for one of them to step forward. However because of the fear the Muslims had harbouring in their hearts, there was no reply, except from Imam Ali AS. Upon hearing his challenge, Imam Ali stood to challenge Amr, however the Prophet prevented him from doing so. Amr repeated this challenge three times, and all three times Imam Ali rose to battle against him, however the Prophet prevented him to see if his companions were loyal and selfless enough to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their religion, however there was no response. Amr then addressed the Muslims by saying, “You Muslims have been made to believe that there is a Jannah, is there anyone among you who has the courage to challenge me so that I can kill him and send him to his Jannah"

To this Prophet Muhammed PBUH said, “Is there anyone among you who could stop the non-sense of this Dog". Hearing this, none other than Imam Ali(a.s.) rose up for the third time and requested permission. After seeing that no one was willing to step forward, the Prophet granted Imam Ali the permission to fight, and dressed Imam Ali AS in a protective iron body shield and gave him Zulfiqar, a sword sent by Allah SWT. When Imam Ali AS began to walk towards the battlefield, Prophet Muhammed said to his companions, “Absolute faith is going against absolute atheism.” After going to the battlefield, Imam Ali fought in such a way that was beyond comprehension and explainable logic, and was able to return to the Prophet after killing Amr. When Imam Ali AS returned to the Prophet, Prophet Muhammed’s face was filled with joy as he said, “One stroke of Ali on the day of Khandaq is heavier than all the good deeds of my Ummah until the day of judgement" 

After seeing the death of one of their strongest soldiers, Abu Sufyan’s army realized there was no purpose in battling any longer, and retreated from fighting, resulting in another promised victory for the Prophet PBUH and his companions.

Through this battle one is able to extract many valuable lessons. Having absolute faith in the Ahulbayt AS and the promise of Allah SWT is one of the key things one should possess in order to be able to persevere and sacrifice for the sake of the religion of Islam. This is revealed throughout the battle by only one individual, Imam Ali AS, as he not once feared death nor loss as he had an immense amount of faith in Allah SWT and the Prophet PBUH.

Therefore through the battle of Khandaq, one realizes the importance of some the events that occurred in the history of Islam and the great effect they had and continue to have until this very day.

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